How does a network of Colombian interethnic women foster resilience to climate change and contribute to gender equality?

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    CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
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Despite the growing demand for improved intersectional integration of gender in agricultural policies (McDougall et al., 2022), the integration of gender and intersectionality (G&I) considerations into climate change (CC) policy cycles in Latin America has been overlooked (Howland & LeCoq, 2022). Climate and gender policies are generally formulated with a top-down approach without integrating the knowledge, perceptions and demands of women and men (Howland et al., 2021) and do not address the structural causes of gender inequalities, leading to inadequate policy formulation (Huyer et al. 2020).

Colombia is a particularly interesting case, considering that in 2016 the country’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed the Peace Accords (PA), a landmark agreement to end the internal conflict. The PA included comprehensive rural reform for agricultural development, environment, and G&I objectives. In addition, the historic shift to a leftist government has led to putting women and other historically marginalized social groups at the center of politics. Governmental and non-governmental actors are involved in the implementation of PA and CC policy, which could lead to fragmentation at different levels and lack of coherence between policy discourse and policy implementation (Howland, 2022).

based on this, the need arises to carry out participatory research to understand the role of the “National Interethnic Women’s Network for Environmental Defense” in promoting climate change resilient agricultural practices, contributing to closing gender gaps and influencing policies on climate change and gender issues.

Thus, within the framework of the CGIAR initiative National Policies and Strategies and with the support of the CGIAR Gender Platform, the Alliance of Bioversity & CIAT joins Fundación Natura and the Rural Women’s Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR, By its acronym in Spanish) in a research project that seeks to understand the role of an interethnic women’s network in policies and territorial advocacy.

This research project will be carried out throughout 2024 and is based on qualitative and quantitative methodologies. On the one hand, it will qualitatively assess the coherence between the perception of the government and the social movement concerning gender and intersectionality issues in the context of climate change. On the other hand, the process of creation of the National Interethnic Women’s Network for the Defense of the Environment, its governance structure, interactions, and its impact on policy implementation, political incidence, and overcoming gender barriers and inclusion will be analyzed quantitatively, and qualitatively through Social Network Analysis (SNA By its acronym in Spanish).

It is expected that this research serves to inform policy design and implementation but may also inform the National Interethnic Women’s Network for Environmental Defense in its policy advocacy and territorial actions.

If you are interested in learning more about this process, please contact us:

The collaboration of Fundación Natura which accompanied the network from its inception, as well as that of the Rural Women’s Directorate of the MADR that supported the network in capacity-building actions, is fundamental to the success of this project.


Fanny Howland, research specialist, deputy director general (ADG), Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Colombia.

Daniela Salas, Communications NPS Initiative, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Colombia.


McDougall, C., Newton, J., Kruijssen, F., & Reggers, A. (2022). Gender integration and intersectionality in food systems research for development: A guidance note.

Howland, F., & Le Coq, J. F. (2022). Disaster risk management, or adaptation to climate change? The elaboration of climate policies related to agriculture in Colombia. Geoforum, 131, 163-172.

Howland, F., Acosta, M., Muriel, J., & Le Coq, J. F. (2021). Examining the barriers to gender integration in agriculture, climate change, food security, and nutrition policies: Guatemalan and Honduran perspectives. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5, 664253.

Huyer, S., Acosta, M., Gumucio, T., & Ilham, J. I. J. (2020). Can we turn the tide? Confronting gender inequality in climate policy. Gender & Development, 28(3), 571-591.

Howland, F. (2022). Local climate change policy and rural development in Colombia’s post-peace agreements context. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 20(7), 1260-1277.

Nash, J. C. (2008). Re-thinking intersectionality. Feminist review, 89(1), 1-15.

This work is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). CGIAR launched NPS with national and international partners to build policy coherence, respond to policy demands and crises, and integrate policy tools at national and subnational levels in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CGIAR centers participating in NPS are The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Potato Center (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and WorldFish. We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund 

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